Monday, March 03, 2008

Oops

Update: Fantastic news! It cost me $50, but I was able to use something called Partition Table Doctor to make the partition table readable again. I am currently booted into Ubuntu Live backing all the most important stuff up onto DVD before taking any more action. I am still unable to boot into any OS from the hard drive, but I can reinstall the GRUB boot program from Ubuntu and hopefully get back to where I was before my fateful mistake last night. Another lesson learned.



Update 2: Thanks to The How-To Geek's article "Reinstall Ubuntu Grub Bootloader After Windows Wipes it Out" (beware: I found faulty advice on the first link I Googled), I was able to get back to my original Ubuntu installation. I am basically back to where I was night before last. Windows still won't boot, but Ubuntu does. Screw Windows. I backed up a DVD worth of data before restoring GRUB (another advantage of having the whole OS on a CD) and I will leave it at that. Whew!



I am glad that Ubuntu has a Live CD or else I wouldn't be on line right now. When I installed Linux, it created a boot program that allowed me to boot into either Linux or Windows. Unfortunately, the Windows partition gave an error that the MBR was incorrect and would not boot.

I followed some faulty advice from the Ubuntu forums and tried to use the Windows Fixboot feature to reset the MBR to run both OSs. Now none of my partitions are recognizable and I may have lost many GB of data and I can't access either system. Luckily I backed up the family pictures a couple months ago onto a DVD, so we should be good in that category (haven't had a working digital camera for a while). The way things are now, I will probably lose some older data unless I can get those partitions repaired somehow.

You know what they say about free advice? It's worth what you paid for it. I am paying for it.

18 comments:

The Moody Minstrel said...

OUCH!!!!!

You don't happen to have a disk recovery utility handy, do you?

I had a similar thing happen to me when I used a (reputable) disk management program to shift space from my D partition to the C one. It shifted it, all right, but it also wiped out the boot sector. At least my D partition, which contains my stored data (most of which is backed up anyway), was unaffected.

That's weird; Charles never had any trouble installing Ubuntu onto a dual-boot setup with WinXP on that machine at work. I wonder what went wrong...

Don Snabulus said...

I think it might have been the fact that this older PC had a bigger hard drive (Maxtor) than the BIOS could handle. I am going to try MaxBlast to see if I can restore a BIOS friendly boot sector (and MBR). There is some purchasable utilities, but I am hoping to recover my Linux partition as well.

It was my own dang fault and had nothing to do with Ubuntu. In fact, I am burning to reinstall it once I've put Humpty Dumpty back together again (if I do). In the mean time, I can use my Ubuntu Live CD to use the PC without a hard drive until I get it figured out.

That is something Windows would and likely won't EVER do for us.

catpsi said...

doh! big time bummer, although it sounds like you've got what's most important to you backed up at least. i admire your willingness to sacrifice your only machine for this adventure!

if i recall correctly, the biggest thing to keep in mind about the dual boot is to make sure that you put Windows on first, then resize its partition and put down linux. I've never tried this on an NTSC volume before though, only FAT. sounds like you might be onto something with the oversized drive theory.

Don Snabulus said...

Catpsi,

Luckily I have ultra-micro with XP I can bring home and keep going with. The hosed PC had some good data on it though, so I was dumb to play with fire without doing a complete backup. If I lose it, I will always wonder what of the 10% non-backed up stuff I really missed.

I already had a section of drive set aside for Linux, so I pretty much did as you said except for the partition resizing. It was just that Windows 2000 did not like the GRUB boot manager and I was trying to alleviate that problem, incorrectly as it turned out.

I've downloaded MaxBlast 5 and the Acronis Disk Manager Trial to see if I can at least get to the data between them. If I can, I will burn a DVD or 3 then wipe the whole thing and start over.

I found out from a friend about AndLinux and may go that route instead on the reinstall.

Too much fun.

Pa've said...

This is I why I have given up experimenting with operating systems.

Swinebread said...

oh man snab sorry

The Moody Minstrel said...

Be careful, Don. Acronis Disk Manager was the "reputable" program I used that swapped partition space on my hard drive...and cheez-whizzed my boot sector in the process. It does include an emergency boot disk, and disk recovery features, though.

Don Snabulus said...

Pa've,
You did that because of me? Wow. Oh wait, you meant...right. Gotcha. (wink)

SB,
Tanx

MM,
The Acronis boot tools could not even see my partition. It is now uninstalled.

Isis said...

For all their sophistication, computers today are like automobiles circa 1915. Change the oil every 100 miles, lubricate a dozen different parts every DAY using different oils for each one, hand prime, pull the choke and hand crank to start, and keep the the thing running with manual fuel mixture. Amazing they caught on at all.

But then I consider what we store on computers that are no less cantankerous than early autos, and I think we are either quite brave or very foolish.

Good luck.

Don Snabulus said...

Isis,

With a comment like that, you are esecially going to enjoy this web page.

Digital data in just about any format is still ephemeral. Commercially pressed CD/DVDs are probably the longest lived but everything from CD-Rs to backup tapes to USB sticks to anything else all have a very short shelf life, especially when compared to good old paper.

ladybug said...

Oh.My.God!

Snabby, that Steampunk Computer link is FAB! I can't believe somebody actually built it!

Now for the D&D version...(sort of medieval/SCA look to it)...

For me, a straight up '30's Art Deco (but not the Miami version) would be "cool"....but heck, I'll take any retro age!

Dean Wormer said...

That's why I'm a microsoft man.

I tried to post this yesterday but Windows locked up while I was typing.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Oh, man...

I WANT THAT COMPUTER!!!!!

Manufacturers just don't cater to hopeless romantics anymore...

Isis said...

That is wonderful. Thanks. There's a business - retro computers, dressed in the style of the era of your choice.

I loved the touch of the vacuum tubes.

DewKid said...

Random annoying trivia: There's a really nice 3D physics framework for XNA called Oops.

Don Snabulus said...

The XNA Oops is better than mine was. :D

The Moody Minstrel said...

My friend/coworker who set up the dual-boot XP/Ubuntu machine here at work gave me the following advice to pass on to you:

"Setting up an Ubuntu dual-boot system with XP can be tricky and takes a bit of tweaking. It's not uncommon for this kind of boot-sector screw-up to happen. The easiest thing to do is an 'in-place' reinstallation of Windows. That will override your registry, meaning you'll have to reinstall applications, but it should rebuild your boot sector and save your data."

You probably don't need this, but for more info, consult this website.

Some Guy said...

I have some advice for ya... RIGHT HEEERRREEEE!!!!